Department of Earth System Science
Stanford, CA 94305
NBER Program Affiliations:
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2017||The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa|
with Eoin McGuirk: w23056
We study the impact of plausibly exogenous global food price shocks on local violence across the African continent. In food-producing areas, higher food prices reduce conflict over the control of territory (what we call “factor conflict”) and increase conflict over the appropriation of surplus (“output conflict”). We argue that this difference arises because higher prices raise the opportunity cost of soldiering for producers, while simultaneously inducing net consumers to appropriate increasingly valuable surplus as their real wages fall. In regions without crop agriculture, higher food prices increase both factor conflict and output conflict, as poor consumers turn to soldiering and appropriation in order to maintain a minimum consumption target. We validate local-level findings on outpu...
|October 2014||Climate and Conflict|
with Solomon M. Hsiang, Edward Miguel: w20598
Until recently, neither climate nor conflict have been core areas of inquiry within economics, but there has been an explosion of research on both topics in the past decade, with a particularly large body of research emerging at their intersection. In this review, we survey this literature on the interlinkages between climate and conflict, by necessity drawing from both economics and other disciplines given the inherent interdisciplinarity of research in this field. We consider many types of human conflict in the review, including both interpersonal conflict -- such as domestic violence, road rage, assault, murder, and rape -- and intergroup conflict -- including riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups. We di...
Published: Marshall Burke & Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel, 2015. "Climate and Conflict," Annual Review of Economics, vol 7(1), pages 577-617. citation courtesy of
|May 2011||Incorporating Climate Uncertainty into Estimates of Climate Change Impacts, with Applications to U.S. and African Agriculture|
with John Dykema, David Lobell, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath: w17092
A growing body of economics research projects the effects of global climate change on economic outcomes. Climate scientists often criticize these articles because nearly all ignore the well-established uncertainty in future temperature and rainfall changes, and therefore appear likely to have downward biased standard errors and potentially misleading point estimates. This paper incorporates climate uncertainty into estimates of climate change impacts on U.S. agriculture. Accounting for climate uncertainty leads to a much wider range of projected impacts on agricultural profits, with the 95% confidence interval featuring drops of between 17% to 88%. An application to African agriculture yields similar results.
Published: “Incorporating climate uncertainty into estimates of climate change impacts” (co-authors Marshall Burke, John Dykema, David Lobell, Shanker Satyanath), Review of Economics and Statistics. May 2015, Vol. 97, No. 2
|October 2010||Climate and Civil War: Is the Relationship Robust?|
with John Dykema, David Lobell, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath: w16440
A recent paper by Burke et al. (henceforth "we") finds a strong historical relationship between warmer- than-average temperatures and the incidence of civil war in Africa (Burke et al. 2009). These findings have recently been challenged by Buhaug (2010) who finds fault with how we controlled for other potential explanatory variables, how we coded civil wars, and with our choice of historical time period and climate dataset. We demonstrate that Buhaug's proposed method of controlling for confounding variables has serious econometric shortcomings and show that our original findings are robust to the use of different climate data and to alternate codings of major war. Using Buhaug's preferred climate data under sound econometric assumptions yields results that suggest an even stronger relat...